Polar Code Implementation in the Arctic Five: Has Harmonisation of National Legislation Recommended by AMSA Been Achieved?

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Arctic Five, Arctic Council, IMO, Legislative Harmonisation, Polar Code


In the seminal Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report, Arctic states were urged to explore the harmonisation of their national maritime regulatory regimes and uniform safety and environmental protection regulatory regimes. These recommendations were important because before the Polar Code was fully adopted in 2015, there existed no dedicated international standard for polar shipping and some Arctic states legislated national regimes on a unilateral basis. Arctic states endeavoured to facilitate the development of international safety and pollution prevention rules and standards through the IMO, culminating in the adoption of the Polar Code. Over the last 5 years the Arctic Five have implemented the Polar Code in their capacities of flag and coastal states. Against this backdrop, this article discusses the extent to which and how the Arctic Five have pursued the legislative harmonisation recommended by the AMSA report.